Notre Dame vs Stanford Live : Notre Dame and Stanford will meet in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in five years when they face off in the Chicago Region final on Monday night. The Stanford Cardinal own bragging rights in the recent rivalry with Notre Dame, winning seven of the last nine meetings straight up, going 5-4 against the spread.
Alexis Sevillian bookended the Iowa burst with 3-pointers. The second of those gave the Hawkeyes their largest lead to that point, at 63-46 with eight minutes left.
Seven of the Hawkeyes’ nine baskets during that run were assisted. Iowa ranks second in Division I with an average of 21.7 assists. The Hawkeyes had assists on 24 of their 31 total field goals.
“We love to be able to just share the ball and get a great shot instead of a good shot,” Gustafson said. “We feed off each other’s energy, and that’s what kept us going.”
Gustafson joined some elite company with her latest double-double. Oklahoma’s Courtney Paris set the record in 2006 and did it again a year later, and Natalie Butler of George Mason matched that mark a year ago. Gustafson has had double-doubles in all but two games this season.
The freshman Elissa Cunane had 14 points and 11 rebounds, Kiara Leslie scored 16 points, and D. D. Rogers added 12 points for the third-seeded Wolfpack (28-6), who shot just 35 percent.
One of the best seasons — and one of the most unlikely runs, after the loss of four players to season-ending injuries — in Wolfpack history came to an end at a familiar stage of the tournament. N.C. State reached the round of 16 for the 13th time in program history. Only once have the Wolfpack gone further — in 1998, the year of the program’s lone Final Four appearance.
“I do believe that the program has gone up since I’ve been here,” said Rogers, a senior. She added, “People just stepped up and wanted to go as far as they could this year, and we made it happen.”No. 1 Baylor and No. 19 Iowa State tip off tonight at 9 p.m. EST on FS1 in Oklahoma City in a battle for the Big 12 tournament title. The Bears (30-1) and Cyclones (25-7) entered the tournament as the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, respectively, and are now one win away from clinching an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.Expect to have to worry about every player on the floor. Brown may be a 2019 Women’s Citizen Naismith Trophy Semifinalist but she doesn’t dominate the Bears’ shot totals. She isn’t even the player with the most shots this season on her team. Jackson is. Five different players have at least 201 shots this season and another three have more than 100. And as a team Baylor shoots better than 50 percent from the field.
The Bears own one of the most prolific offenses in the nation with an average of 80.9 points per game. They only have one true threat to take 3s in Landrum, but those shots aren’t the focus of the team’s offense. Baylor hits the glass hard and moves the ball to get the best shot. It’s why the Bears own a plus-17.1 rebounding margin, average 14.5 offensive rebounds per game and have four players with at least 111 assists.Expect Carleton to shoulder the bulk of the load. Iowa State’s leading scorer has attempted 502 shots this season while no other teammate has more than 292. The Cyclones have four players who’ve attempted between 253 and 292, and as a team they average nearly 64 shots each game, but that’s still close to seven more shots per game for Carleton than her closest teammate. It works for Iowa State, though. Carleton shoots 46.2 percent from the field and averages 21.7 points per game. Iowa State shoots 44.7 percent from the field and averages 79.8 points per game.
The Cyclones managed just 60 points in a 13-point loss against Baylor in late February, but that was because they shot 31.7 percent from the field (19-for-60) and 18.5 percent on 3s (5-for-27). Iowa State is not one of the better 3-point shooting teams. It hits just 33.7 percent of them and attempts close to 27 each game. But when the Cyclones are making them they can score as many as 105 points in a game like they did against Texas Tech in January.The eyes of Baylor guard Didi Richards grew big in the second quarter of Saturday’s women’s NCAA tournament Sweet 16 rout of South Carolina when she saw Kalani Brown running alone for a fast-break opportunity.
She lofted the ball long and high, hoping to give the 6-foot-7 center a chance to run under it for an easy basket.Instead, Brown slowed to a stop and the ball sail well over her head out of bounds. She then turned and gave Richards a puzzled stare that she maintained for most of the walk to the other end of the court, where she said, “Really?”She knows better,” added Brown, who later joked about the pass with Richards. “She’s one of the best passers on the team. So for her to throw that crazy thing to me, I was like, ‘What?'”
Brown is one of the biggest players in women’s college basketball. She can get to balls over many opponents under the basket without having to leave the floor. Her inside presence is a big reason the top-seeded Lady Bears are 34-1 and favored to win the title heading into Monday night’s Elite Eight matchup against second-seeded Iowa.
Speed and mobility to make up for bad passes, such as the one Richards threw, are not Brown’s strengths. That isn’t to suggest that Brown is slow or immobile. The daughter of former NBA star P.J. Brown just knows those are things she has to improve on to excel at the next level.
She knows those two parts of her game will be showcased against Iowa center Megan Gustafson, who plays much bigger than her height (6-foot-3) because she’s so effective at positioning her body and using her agility to get around defenders.
A recent video of her “Mikan Drill,” in which Gustafson puts a ball in each hand and makes one layup after another for 40 seconds, is a great example of her versatility.
“She positions herself really well to get the ball,” Brown said as she anticipated the 7 p.m. ET game at Greensboro Coliseum. “Her guards have a lot of great passing. They really get the ball to her, and she never stops moving, so that’s another challenge.
“You know, everyone’s talking about my mobility and how I can’t move supposedly. Whatever.”While both teams have great guards and other solid inside players, the focus will be on Brown and Gustafson, both finalists for the Lisa Leslie Award honoring the nation’s best center. Gustafson also is a finalist for the Naismith Trophy recognizing the best player in the country after leading the nation in scoring (28 points per game) and field goal percentage (70.1).
“It’s just two great post players playing their game,” said Brown, who admitted that the matchup, as key as it will be, might be overhyped.
Not overhyped is Gustafson’s importance to Iowa’s chances of an upset against a team that has won 26 straight. The entire offense flows through her with the high-low post game.
“She’s the [espnW] national player of the year,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said of Gustafson. “We’ve got our hands full.”
Perhaps a bit of gamesmanship — and motivation — there. Iowa has its hands full inside not only with Brown but also with 6-foot-4 forward Lauren Cox. Iowa coach Lisa Bluder noted that Gustafson hasn’t faced many 6-foot-7 players this season.”That’s a real challenge,” she said. “And we know that. But what allows [Megan] to be successful is she does run the floor well. She’s got great footwork. She’s got wonderful hands. Her shot is very, very quick. She’s got some great ball fakes, up-and-unders she can get you off the ground with.
“She’s got a good hook shot. Hook shots are really hard to defend. So she’s found ways to shoot over bigger people because she does it all the time. Now, not 6-[foot]-7, but almost all year she’s been undersized.”
Brown admittedly can’t sit back on Gustafson like she might other players and think, “Oh, she’s 6-foot-3. I can just block her shot.”
“She has a soft touch around the basket, so there’s no way I can let her get deep and turn around and shoot it because that’s an automatic two points,” Brown said. “I have to play her straight-up.”
Brown will get some help from Cox, who has 2 inches on Iowa’s other inside threat, Hannah Stewart (6-foot-2).
“I think our size may bother her a little bit,” Cox said of Gustafson. “I don’t think she’s ever played against somebody Kalani’s size.”
Brown has faced players such as Gustafson, most recently California’s Kristine Anigwe (6-foot-4), who earlier this year had 32 points and 32 rebounds against Washington State for a Pac-12-record 30 straight double-doubles.
“To me, nobody moves more than Kristine Anigwe,” Brown said.
Anigwe was 4-for-17 from the floor and had only five rebounds against Baylor.
“I’m just going to play my game,” Brown said. “We’re just going to match up and see where the chips fall.